Sticking Things In Your Mouth



I'm sure all of us recall our parents warning, cajoling or berating us to "get that thing out of your mouth."  Despite these warnings many people continue to practice unhealthy oral habits.  Whether it is nail biting to relieve stress or using your teeth for a bottle opener it's true that father (and mother) really did know best.

 The following are some unhealthy oral habits that you would be wise to drop as soon as possible.

§    TOOTHPICKS- While these little marvels may be effective for removing food particles, they often cause food to be wedged deeper between the teeth.  In addition a slip or sudden movement can lead to damaged gums and/or lips.

§    CHEWING ICE CUBES-Ice is hard and brittle.This in itself is enough to chip or crack teeth.  Fillings and teeth are further adversely affected by the expansion and contraction that occurs with the sudden temperature change.The extremes in temperature may affect nerve endings in already sensitive teeth and lead to extreme discomfort.

§     NAIL BITING-Although more prevalent in men because women are more conscience of the appearance of their nails, this way of dealing with stress is an equal opportunity troublemaker.Persistent nail biting causes excessive wear on teeth, possible loss of the tooth root through resorption, lacerated gums, micro-fractures in teeth, spread of skin infections from the hand to the mouth and in severe cases misalignment of teeth.

§     SUCKING LEMONS-Although that little piece of fruit at the bottom of the glass looks inviting-resist the temptation.  The citric acid can remove important minerals from the teeth and lead to the erosion of the enamel.  Over time teeth may develop tiny grooves or they may soften making them prone to chipping.

§     USING YOUR TEETH AS TOOLS-We've all run into the problem of packages wrapped in plastic with the seeming intent that they never be opened.Unfortunately, teeth are just too convenient.Instead of reaching for a scissors or a knife we trust our teeth which can lead to damaged tissues and/or teeth.The same thing happens when we use our teeth in lieu of a bottle opener.In a word…DON'T.

Eliminating these unhealthy oral habits may save you unnecessary pain and an unscheduled visit to the dental office.

Dr. Stephen Petras

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